Shauna Minoprio

Executive Producer Shauna Minoprio gives you the insider scoop.

on Oct 25, 20060

A few days into production now, and the Top Chef Army is still a little raw and unseasoned. (You have no idea how hard it is to stay away from food metaphors in this job.) We are all congratulating ourselves on making it through the first episode without any major casualties as we plunge headlong into episode two.

At 6:00am at the fish market, it's not only Mia who's feeling a little unsteady -- most of the crew have had even less sleep than the chefs, so the sight of piles of fish is a little unnerving on a half a cup of coffee. Padma arrives very chipper, looking like she's slept for a week, while I look like I've just been dug up. Despite the unceremonious wake-up visit from Tom, the chefs are in a good mood. And apart from Mia losing her breakfast behind the fish truck, everything goes off without a hitch and we all head back to the kitchen.

Chef Shima is the man! Seeing the looks on the chefs' faces when he is introduced as the guest judge is a great moment. I don't think there are many experiences more intimidating than making sushi for a master like him. I felt for the chefs -- seeing Chef Shima definitely took the edge off their early morning joyride-to-the-fishmarket fun. That Mia is real fighter -- feeling ill and with no sushi experience at all, she still went for it. Unfortunately Shima took one look at her rolls and decided to use Padma as his stunt-taster! Oh well.

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